The Valentine’s Day gift for some people came with a love song in four-part harmony Thursday.
The Racing City Chorus, based in Saratoga Springs, and Sweet Adelines singing groups in Schenectady and Albany belt out love songs and offer gifts on Valentine’s Day. The singing surprises are delivered to a sweetheart’s home, a restaurant or place of work.
The Racing City Chorus had five quartets busy all day Thursday going from one location to another in a six-county area.
“We’ve been doing this for 14 or 15 years now. It’s our major fundraiser of the year,” said George Wallace, marketing director for the all-male Racing City Chorus. The singers started the three-day program Wednesday and will continue the singing visits from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. today.
The chorus specializes in barbershop harmony, the four-part style of unaccompanied singing created in the United States in the late 1800s.
Their repertoire includes such songs as “Love Me Tender,” “Let Me Call You Sweetheart,” and “Heart of My Heart.”
Wallace’s quartet had 20 singing gigs Thursday. They sang at two banks, a college bookstore, several restaurants, private homes and even Saratoga Hospital.
The quartet sang at the hospital’s nursing home during the Valentine’s Day luncheon and also sang for one of their members, Bob Sanger of Malta, who had broken a leg recently.
Sanger asked the quartet to sing for the nurses’ station on his floor to thank them for their caring service.
Wallace’s quartet finished its day singing at the Bread Basket bakery and cafe on Spring Street in Saratoga Springs.
The Racing City Chorus hoped to perform about 100 engagements during the three-day period.
In other parts of the region, The River Valley Chorus, a Sweet Adelines group based in Schenectady, sang at a school, at the Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital in Schenectady and at assisted living facilities in the region.
“I love doing the schools,” said Diane Ostrander of River Valley Chorus.
She said a teacher at Albany Academy received one of Thursday’s barbershop-style singing gifts.
The chorus sings one song that comes with a gift bag and personalized card for $40. A second song costs $10 more.
“We are always looking for new members,” Ostrander said. She said the River Valley Chorus has rehearsals at 7 p.m. each Tuesday at the Carman firehouse on Hamburg Street in Schenectady.
The Racing City Chorus offers four packages, each with the harmonized singing of two love songs and a personalized Valentine card.
The basic package features a single long-stemmed rose and a sampler of chocolates for $49.95. The deluxe package features a dozen long-stemmed roses and a one-pound box of chocolates along with the songs and card for $129.95.
“We will sing just about anywhere, so let your imagination take flight,” says the Racing City Chorus website (www.racingcitychorus.org). “We’ve sung in many restaurants, to people in stores, to jail guards, in classrooms, in homes, cars, nursing homes, hospitals and more.”
The Capitaland Chorus, a Sweet Adelines group based in Albany, was also busy Thursday singing at locations such as Cohoes High School and at restaurants in Albany and Round Lake, said Harriet Borton of Capitaland.
“We’ve been doing it for many years,” she said. Capitaland Chorus also sends out singing messages via the Internet. For $20 a person can email a recorded singing Valentine to their son or daughter at college, for example.
There are also live telephone quartet singing Valentines for $15 or a recorded singing Valentine for $10.
The in-person version of the Capitaland Chorus singing Valentine costs about $40 and includes a quartet singing at a person’s location of choice, two songs, a gift and a personalized card.
Capitaland Chorus will also be singing love songs today (a couple at a restaurant) and on Saturday when a young man is proposing to his sweetheart at Colonie Center mall. For more information see the chorus website at www.capitalandchorus.com or call Borton at 272-7863.